Christian Guiltenane, editor of GuysLikeU, celebrates Phillip Schofield's announcement that he is gay as a significant moment for the LGBT community...
"Coming out is never easy. Telling your loved ones or people that you meet that you are gay can sometimes feel as stressful as confessing to a murder.
Why? Because when you identify as LGBT you’re always so scared about how someone will react to you and you fear you may lose them.
Read More: Phillip Schofield reveals he is gay
And so many of us for many years, we keep our secret, and spend every day of our lives, holding our breath and watching over our shoulders.
Phillip Schofield’s coming out shouldn’t really be news, some might say.
But I disagree. What he did today on This Morning is so very important to those out there who are living a similarly secret life.
To see someone like Phillip – our cosy TV friend who is loved by all – come out as gay is so important.
It’s true, we live in a tolerant country. We see gay faces splashed across our TV screens way more than we ever did. But what we see on screen isn’t exactly what the real world looks like.
Outside of the media bubble and the big cosmopolitan cities, are young, middle-aged and older men and women hiding away, scared to tell their truth for fear of reprisals.
You may think everyone around us is open minded, but many LGBT people continue to come face to face with bigoted people who consider them ‘freaks’. In some cases, they lash out and hurt them, all because they fancy who they fancy.
In many cases, these homophobes are the way they are because they don’t understand LGBT people. They fear difference because they cannot get their heads around something that is so alien to them.
To see someone like Phillip – our cosy TV friend who is loved by all – come out as gay is so important because someone we consider ‘safe’ and ‘normal’ and part of an extended TV family has proved that being gay doesn’t change the way you are, or who you are.
There will be some snipes out there who will no doubt be appalled at Phillip’s announcement, but that’s their own issue that they have to deal with it in their own lives.
I’m proud of Phillip. What he, and the many before him have done, is pave the way for those of us hidden in the shadows who have been waiting to breathe out all of our lives. It’s never too late to come out and it will never be easy.
But hopefully Phillip’s story will inspire many more young men and women to find the strength and finally allow themselves to live the lives they’ve always dreamt of."
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